A classic 80s rivalry is renewed
Celtics. Lakers. The shorts are longer. The socks are shorter. No "Larry Legend" or "Magic" but Jack Nicholson is still sitting courtside. The NBA Finals tip off tonight, and at first glance, it's the 80s all over again. (Is this a great country or what?)
From 1980-88, eight of the nine NBA championships belonged to one of these two teams (three for Boston, five for Los Angeles). As hoops fans get ready for another chapter in the storied rivalry, here's the ultimate top 5 list as written by Stuck in the 80s uber-fan (and Celtic lunatic) Jane, who would like to give thanks to espn.com and nba.com for helping her memory.
TOP 5 CELTICS-LAKERS MOMENTS OF THE 80s:
5. 1985 NBA Finals, Game 1: It was supposed to be redemption time for the Lakers after their crumbling performance in the '84 finals. Turns out the vaunted rematch was a massacre. The Lakers got their lunch handed to them, 148-114. The hero of the game was reserve forward Scott Wedman, who went 11 for 11 in field goal attempts, which included four three-pointers.
4. 1985 NBA Finals, Game 6: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 29 points as the Lakers defeated the Celtics 111-100 to win the 1985 Championship Series. What was significant about this win? It was the first time an opponent had sealed an NBA championship in Boston Garden - and the first time the Lakers had bested the Celtics in the Finals. Averaging 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 blocks, the 38-year-old Abdul-Jabbar was named the series MVP.
3. 1984 NBA Finals, Game 5: The thermometer read 97 degrees in the Boston Garden at the start of Game 5 ... indoors. (Can you imagine the beer sales?) The heat only seemed to energize Larry Bird, as he racked up 34 points in a 121-103 Celtics win. Dennis Johnson, the late great Celtics point guard, dubbed it "the best game we ever played."
2. 1987 NBA Finals, Game 4: One point down in the final moments of the game, Magic Johnson took the win for the Lakers with what he called a running "junior, junior, junior skyhook" through to the hoop. The 107-106 win put the Lakers up 3-1 in the series, which they won in six games. Not surprisingly, Magic's performance gave him his third NBA Finals MVP nod.
1. 1984 NBA Finals, Game 4: It was the "Foul Heard Round the World." Trying to slow down the steamrolling Lakers, Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis to the ground on a breakaway layup during the second period. Talk about shifting momentum: The Lakers spent the rest of the game looking for their mojo, ultimately blowing a 5-point lead and sending the game into overtime. The Celtics won, 129-125 in overtime, thanks to a Larry Bird game-clinching shot.